From Employee to Entrepreneur: How to Get Ready

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owner of a small business store showing her tasty cakes
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Do you long for more independence or wealth? Maybe you should start your own business.

A successful business can open up opportunities, options and freedom like very few jobs can offer. Starting a business will take time and require you to re-examine your priorities. The only thing we all have the same amount of is hours in the day. High-income business owners use their 24-hour allotment differently than employees.

Small businesses are a huge factor in the growth of the U.S. economy. True, the recession hit wannabe entrepreneurs hard. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, the rate of new start-ups went down 12 percent from 2007 to 2010.

Getting the Money

Most businesses are started with a large investment -- made with owner equity, borrowed funds or both -- in goods, space, equipment, labor, marketing and other factors.

When you think of borrowing money, banks of course come to mind. Find out what banks specialize in your type of business. Network with others in your industry and find out who is helping them with financing. To get a loan, be prepared with a business plan, personal financial statement, an explanation of your experience in this type of venture, additional collateral, relevant industry facts about growth rates and demand and other pertinent information.

Finance companies and venture capital firms might be a better fit. Be very wary of companies wanting large upfront fees to simply review your application. Files for many small business ventures can be reviewed and underwritten with very little upfront costs other than an appraisal.

The Unique Selling Proposition

The most important part of any business is getting many people interested in what you have to sell. One critical point is a "unique selling proposition" that can separate you from most of your alleged competition. Some famous examples are Domino's (DPZ) "Fresh, hot pizza delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less or it's free" and Subway's promotion of healthy subs with its Jared weight loss campaign.

A USP should quickly tell prospects what's in it for them, and it should be used in all of your marketing messages. The USP is not necessarily a slogan but could be a mission. One of mine is helping families all over the country create tax-free generational wealth. It is simple and to the point, and many prospects want to know more.

Potential Customers Are Online

Thanks to the Internet, you have a worldwide marketplace at your fingertips. But how do you get just a tiny fraction of the billions of people online to check you out and do business with you?

A website is an absolute to be taken seriously. A website needs to be "sticky" (meaning the content urges people to stick around) and should generate leads by giving away something of quality. All prospects need do is to give their name and email address to get this free item. Most of your leads are not ready to do business with you right away, but if cultivated inexpensively over time via email and occasional snail mail, they can be worth a fortune to your business.

Internet marketing can generate leads to a targeted group of people. Google (GOOG) AdWords and Facebook (FB) marketing can be quite successful for entrepreneurs who take the time to understand how they work.

To start a successful business, spend time researching with the U.S. Small Business Association and elsewhere. Spend money on business training. Make it a priority to make your dreams of business ownership and financial possibilities come true.

John Jamieson is the best-selling author of "The Perpetual Wealth System." Check out his Video of the Week.


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